One of the artworks inspired by Ian Dury in the exhibition
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853‘s cultural correspondent MERCURY MAN returns with New Boots and Panties on his mind…

I how it’s hard to believe, given the way it flows, but sometimes I find it very difficult to write this column. Not difficult exactly; more, I can’t get away with the blatant lies.

You see, sometimes I try to sneak in subjects that fascinate me but don’t follow the rules. For example, I might try to tell you something about Grenoble instead of Greenwich, its 18th century fort and other attractions, as if it’s a 47 bus ride away.

Once, for local feel and colour, I reported from Sweden when actually I was in The Duke of Cambridge, just off Lee Green.

I got away with that one but Ed, as I call him, is up to all my tricks by now – he’s spiked at least four – so in this case I can only throw myself at the mercy of my readers and hope that, if this does get through, you’ll nod that it was more than worth it.

Ian Dury. This is about the late, great Ian Dury.

There’s this “touring exhibition” called All Kinds of Naughty – celebrating the inimitable singer-songwriter – being held between now and October, but despite my own exhaustive efforts it will not be held anywhere in Greenwich or Lewisham. Bexley, of course, has never heard of him.

So my plea to Ed is to give the wonderful people who click on to 853 every day to be able to choose one of the venues on the website below and get there by bus, train or satnav, and hopefully feedback with thanks. Surely, begorrah, anything about Ian Dury passes muster and makes everyone feel cheerful?

I mean, how far is Aldgate? And surely the 108 bus and the DLR will help out at venues in Essex? And what better than a trip to Southend-on-Sea – we could organise a coach! Then there’s Canterbury or Deal. Deal’s very, very classy!

The exhibition marks 20 years since Dury’s death from colorectal cancer

The exhibition is presented by the Thames Group of Artists and we could find out more about them, for a kick off, and snap them up for a local gig. Don’t know about you but the last time I looked the Thames was pretty close to home.

This mob – take a deep breath – are made up- of painters, sculptures, ceramicists, 2D & 3D mixed media artists, photographers, writers, performers, film makers and a milliner.

Gawd knows what the milliner does but that’s not the point. If you don’t want to witness the Thames Group of Artists doing their stuff around the beloved Ian Dury, there’s something the matter with you.

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All the venues are below, each one with a particular relevance to Dury’s life. And remember, it takes longer to get up north the slow way.

Stash Gallery, Aldgate (March 24 – April 11); Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch (April 15 – May 2); Gallery 286, Earl’s Court (May 7-28); Lilford Gallery, Canterbury (June 11-25); Don’t Walk Walk Gallery, Deal (June 30 – July 12); Beecroft Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (August 29 – October 3). More info at

(Note: Some of the early shows have now been cancelled – check the Thames Group website for the latest.)

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